Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Carmen Black, of Sundog Farm near Solon, holds a microphone and speaks about on-farm research to farmers attending Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2018 Cooperators' Meeting.
Carmen Black, of Sundog Farm near Solon, shares results of her on-farm research at Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2018 Cooperators' Meeting on Thursday. Carmen conducted a project with Mark Quee, of Scattergood Friends School & Farm near West Branch, examining the effect of grazing cover crops with sheep prior to growing brassicas. 

The Cooperators’ Meeting is a two-day event where PFI farmers who are conducting research gather to discuss past research and plan on-farm research for the following year.
7 p.m. | Tune in here

Jan. 17-18: Pre-Conference Short Courses: Silvopasture & Orcharding
Jan. 17, 1 - 6:30 p.m. | Jan. 18, 8 - 11:30 a.m.

Jan 18-19: Annual Conference: Cultivating Connections
Jan. 18, 12:30 - 6:30 p.m. | Jan. 19, 7:30 a.m. - 5:10 p.m.
Twenty-nine people gathered at Woven Strong Farm on June 28 to hear from Bill and Stacey Borrenpohl, who farm near LaMotte. After planning and patience, they bought this property to raise their family and provide meat for themselves and their community. They purchased the 8-acre farm in 2011 and started farming in 2012. The Borrenpohls' planning process helped them understand the importance of building infrastructure on their farm. Click here to continue reading about this field day!
There's a session for everyone
Whether you're a farmer, landowner or friend of farmer, experienced farmer or just starting out, you'll find a session for you at our 2019 annual conference, "Cultivating Connections," (Jan. 17-19). This conference, we're offering more sessions than ever -- 60, plus two pre-conference short courses.

Here are a few of the sessions we're excited about. (Be sure to pre-register for the conference to get a discounted rate!)
In "Starting a Cover Crop Seed Business," you'll get a crash course in the basics of starting a cover crop seed business. Mac Ehrhardt (above), of Albert Lea Seed, will first discuss seed laws and intellectual property considerations. Dean Sponheim will then share how he started a "one-stop shop" for cover crop seeding.
In "Vegetable Seed-Saving as a Business Enterprise," Beth and Nathan Corymb will discuss what plant-family characteristics should be considered; why population size and isolation are necessary to maintain true-to-type open-pollinated varieties; and how seed-growing can complement CSA, market or processing enterprises.
In "Landowners: Prioritizing Conservation on Rented Ground," learn how Ruth Rabinowitz and Maggie McQuown , two non-operator owners, have made conservation a priority. Fifty-three percent of Iowa farmland is rented to non-owner operators.
Donate to our annual conference silent auction
Our 2019 conference is fast approaching, and one of the long-standing conference traditions is our silent auction, which features a wide array of items -- from handmade crafts and gift baskets to services and farm-related products -- donated by members, attendees, businesses and supporters.  The proceeds provide us with funds to stay member-directed.

Please consider donating quality goods and services to help make our 2019 silent auction a success. Items that have raised a lot of money in the past include:

  • services, such as free rental of farm equipment for a day, free consultation with a farmer expert or a free stay at your time-share

  • tickets to a sold-out sporting event, a popular conference or other in-demand event

  • one-of-a-kind gifts like homemade quilts, woodwork and baskets

If you would like to donate to our silent auction, please contact debra@practicalfarmers.org or call (515) 232-5661.
Tuesday, Dec. 18 | 7 p.m.
Beth Kazmar

Managing diseases on a vegetable farm is difficult due to the diversity of crops and the range of diseases that threaten them. Organic vegetable farmer Beth Kazmar will share her on-farm experience preventing and managing diseases. She will focus on one or two crops, with emphasis on proactive methods like variety selection, hot water seed treatments, row spacing, employee education and use of organically approved materials. Tune in here on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

George Naylor of Churdan wrote a commentary that was featured in the Nyeleni Newsletter (scroll to page 5): Political education is key
Have you been featured in the media? Tell us when and where to find a link to the article, and we'll feature you in a future issue of Practical News.